Soft sand shifting south will eventually mean cars will no longer be able to drive along the beaches in Volusia County, according to a new report.
The report, co-authored by three elected county and city officials as part of a Beach Driving Subcommittee, cites various reasons, including and future beach conditions like red soft sand.
Volusia County Beach Safety and Ocean Rescue officials said that when red sand or coquina sand is brought in by tides, it is virtually impossible for cars to drive along the beach.
"You can't drive in that red sand," said Capt. Tammy Marris, with Volusia County Beach Safety and Ocean Rescue. We do have the red sand in parts of our county. In Ormond (Beach) — the extreme north side of Ormond (Beach) and in New Smyrna (Beach), we do have it."
Lifeguards are forced to shut down parts of the beach when ocean tides bring the red soft sand to beaches because vehicles get stuck on the beach and need help.
The red soft sand is most prominent in Ormond Beach, Marris said.
According to the report, the red sand is moving south and will eventually impact other coastal communities in the county.
Red coquina sand has been around since conquistadors landed in Florida. Coquina rock and sand was used to build forts, buildings and walls — some of which still stand today in St. Augustine.
The sand is sturdy for construction needs, but it's also a headache for drivers.
"If we do have weather days where red sand does pop up, yes, we will have to close off portions of the beach," Marris said.
Lifeguards also have to close beaches to driving when the tide is too high.
According to the study, ocean levels are rising every year, which means Mother Nature may eventually decide if cars should remain on the beach regardless of what the sand does.
The report also states cities with limited beach driving, like Ponce Inlet, have higher real estate values.